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Stephen Finley

Louisiana State University

Dr. Stephen Finley is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies & African and African American Studies—in addition to serving as the Director for the latter department—at Louisiana State University.

Dr. Finley is a scholar and contributes positive articles about the Nation of Islam (NOI). He has further praised Louis Farrakhan, the organization’s leader, for allegedly brokering peace between gangs in an article for LAist.

A prominent black nationalist that has led the NOI for decades, Farrakhan is known for virulent anti-white and antisemitic statements. He has called for the formation of black militias, stating that “white people need to die,” and even praised Adolf Hitler as a “very great man” in a speech comparing himself to the Nazi dictator.

As a critical race scholar, the bulk of Finley’s work is concentrated on “whiteness studies,” itself a branch of critical race theory.

Critical race theory is an intellectual branch of Marxism—also referred to as critical theory—that alleges that white supremacy infects all political, legal, and cultural institutions in America. Many prominent critical theorists, including professor Dr. Nikole Hannah-Jones, even claim that the nation’s true founding year is 1619—rather than 1776—when the first slave stepped foot in North America.

Whiteness studies, itself a branch of critical race theory, examines the place of white people in modern society. The theory argues that white people—whether aware or unaware of their privilege—contribute and benefit from racialized systems of oppression. Therefore, critical theorists work to dismantle “whiteness” and the structures that underline it.  Another facet of whiteness studies—one that Dr. Finley subscribes to—notes that when people of color attempt to replace these systems, white people will oppose the efforts to achieve racial equity—oftentimes violently—in order to preserve their own racial privilege.

As the author of “God IS a White Supremacist,” Dr. Finley, defines “God” as the current state that manifests as white supremacy in everyday life, particularly in the lives of black Americans. This state inflicts racial violence towards black Americans through institutions like the police There is no recourse for this carnage as this God-like state is “divine and above reproach” to many white Americans.

Dr. Finley is also a contributing author of the book, “The Religion of White Rage,” which alleges how white people go to great lengths to preserve their own racial privilege. Over the course of his chapters, Dr. Finley develops his own concept, positing that whiteness—and thus, “white rage”—is a religion to most white people.

Dr. Finley defines religion as a mechanism for people to comprehend their place and purpose in the world. In this context, whiteness is the framework for white Americans to position themselves apart from people of color in order to maximize the benefits of racial privilege that our society confers. This is done through a series of institutions that explicitly benefit white Americans—such as the police—at the expense of black Americans.

Dr. Finley posits that all whites benefit from and work to uphold these racist structures. Whenever they are challenged by the social progress of African Americans, white Americans will often respond violently.

The term that Dr. Finley uses to define this phenomenon is “white rage;” Whiteness causes white Americans to react violently whenever their privilege is challenged by social or racial progress.

The specific instances that Dr. Finley cites are the white supporters of Donald Trump and the “MAGA Movement” at large. He alleges that the rise of Donald Trump is a backlash to the racial progress brought on by a black president (Barack Obama).

This in turn drew a “violent response of white communities” over their perceived loss of racial entitlements.

He writes further that Donald Trump draws upon the “myth of the white worker”—or a nostalgic return to a mythical era—to “activate the white populace” to protect their privilege.

Rather than a fringe scholar, Dr. Finley’s work is openly promoted by the university. At his most recent event, the communications department hosted Dr. Finley to discuss his book alongside other whiteness and critical race scholars.

The full lecture may be viewed below.

 

In a press release preceding the event, Dr. Finley characterizes the religion of the white people as the “motivating factor” for the rise in white supremacist sentiment, which in turn resulted in the “Capitol Insurrection.”

The Professor Watchlist Team reached out to Dr. Finley for comment, but he declined to respond prior to publication.

 

`Students and Parents may contact the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of Louisiana State University at (225) 578-3141

 

Updated – March 30th, 2022

 

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